‘Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:’ — 1 Corinthians 1:2
Problems. Problems. And more problems. The church at Corinth was notorious for its problems.
They had problems with internal strife, to the point that members were taking one another to court (1 Cor 6:1-8). When they had corporate meals, some were going hungry and others were getting drunk (1 Cor 11:21).
They also had problems with sexual sin (1 Cor 6:12-20). Corinth was infamous around the world for its immoral culture and practices. Those practices had sadly infiltrated the church, to the point that what was going among them was worse than what the unbelievers were doing (1 Cor 5).
They had other problems as well, but the root problem seems to be one of pride. Five times, Paul wrote about being ‘puffed up’ in 1 Corinthians (4:6; 4:18; 4:19; 5:2; 13:4). Puffed up is referring to be inflated with pride.
Their pride caused them to use their gifts to make themselves look good rather than to build up others. Their pride caused them to not be convicted about their sin. And their pride caused a good deal of division (1 Cor 4).
All of that pride would have been humbled if they had realised that they belonged to God. D.K Lowery writes of 1 Corinthians 1:2, ‘The church belongs to God, not man. Had the Corinthians recognized this, their problem of division might not have existed.’
There are many reasons why we should not be proud, and the fact that we belong to God is one. He is our Lord and master, and everything we are and do should be to please and honour Him.
The next time you find problems or disunity or sin, look for pride, because likely that is the root of the problem in someway. Submit yourself to God and watch as He brings grace and humility and forgiveness.